One of the major components of the Police Dispatch Quality (PDQ) Award is the training program implemented by the winning company. SIAC, along with the False Alarm Reduction Association (FARA), helps judge the PDQ contest. Finding a well-thought-out, thorough and successful training program is always a key ingredient for the company we select to win this prestigious award, which goes to the company with the best annual alarm reduction program.
What happens is this: Training customers on how to use the system is a secondary thought.
This is odd, because we know that user error is overwhelmingly the number one cause (upwards to 80%) of those dastardly false dispatch calls. Since nobody in the industry wants those unnecessary alarms, wouldn’t it stand to reason that training customers better would be high on every electronic security company’s agenda?
One would hope so, but here’s the rub: Technicians, who are often the ones explaining the system to homeowners and business employees, are not schooled in teaching, educating or explaining. Instead, they’re schooled to install systems effectively and safely. Companies should provide technicians with special training to help them easily explain the alarm system to customers.
At the same time, there’s one more simple step that could help the security industry reduce false dispatch calls: Make sure that everyone who even “might” have to operate the system understands how to do so. We know, we know, it’s difficult to bring a family together and explain it all at once. So, if it’s just mom at home, it’s mom that gets the explanation.
We suggest companies develop a simple 10-question test for operating the alarm system. Distribute that to your customers. Ask that EVERYONE in the family or ALL EMPLOYEES at a business fill the form out, and send it in. If there are too many mistakes, send someone specially-trained back out to give everyone a refresher.
This is no panacea, but it is a step in the right direction. If you can pull everyone in the family together during the installation to explain the system, by all means you should do so. If not, figure out the next best thing.
Properly-operated alarm systems reduce those unwanted signals. The more we train, the more we grow.